Guns and Buttering Them Up, in Iraq

The U.S. Defense Department has awarded its up to three-year, $300 million contract for "information operations" in Iraq and possibly Afghanistan. There are four lucky firms: the Lincoln Group, which was outed in 2005 for planting U.S. military-written pieces in Iraqi newspapers; Leonie Industries, a woman-owned company that promises "access to seemingly impenetrable markets" around the world; SOS International, which in 2006 won a contract to monitor foreign media for coverage of the so-called Global War on Terrorism; and MPRI, a unit of L-3 Communications that won a contract in 2003 to involve former Iraqi soldiers in public works projects. The new PR push is "seen by the [U.S.] military as a means toward 'reconciliation' of the country and a way to foster support for Iraqi Security Forces from Iraqi civilians," reports O'Dwyer's.